Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Long Distance Bathroom Remodel

Meet my adorable sister, Anne, and her equally adorable husband, Brian.  They live in a sweet little house below the bluffs in LaCrosse, WI - about 4 hours from our house in Sioux Falls.
Bought back in 2009, their house is a story and a half with this cozy main floor bathroom...
And this moldy tile.  Frowny face.
Anne and Brian were ready to update the bathroom with fresh tile and paint, since that's all we thought it needed.  The original tub is still in great condition, although it may have to be re-glazed in the next few years.  Does anyone have experience with this process?  We're wondering what the results are like, as we'll need to have ours done at some point, too.  The floor tile you see in the photo is that peel and stick vinyl stuff - and it's in decent condition here.
Since our family and my parents are usually only able to visit Anne and Brian for a weekend at a time, completing a medium scale bathroom remodel in 2 days would be tough - even for this family.  So to help speed things along, Anne and Brian got started on the demo a few weeks before family was to arrive.  This is my sister, showing no mercy to that old moldy tile.  In slippers.
Unfortunately, once they took all of the wall tile off, the years and years of moisture creeping through the wall tiles were showing a lot of damage.  
So the shower plaster needed to come off.  This is about how most home improvement projects go - and why they take twice as long as you expect and cost twice as much.  You just have to assume that anytime you're doing a remodel to figure in extra time and extra money!

Anne and Brian's friend came over to help with the demo of the plaster.  Why is it that anytime there's demo to be done, it turns into one big party when guys are involved?  I suppose demo satisfies some natural instinct in males to tear things apart.
You can see here how thick this plaster was!  I'm selfishly pretty happy that we weren't around for "demo dayz" - that plaster must have been super heavy and dusty.
Skip ahead to my parents arrival.  They helped to get the new backer board installed and included a shampoo bottle niche with a marble ledge.  You're probably thinking "that shampoo bottle niche is a little large, isn't it?"  Well, you don't know my sister.  Showering at her house is like visiting a many creams and lotions and potions and exfoliating face washes and multiple shampoos and conditioners.  Quite the inventory as compared to the three products in Brent and I's shower - shampoo, conditioner, soap.
With the backer board up, Brian and my dad could begin the tile work.  My dad was beginning to install a soap dish until someone kindly pointed out that no one in that house (or anywhere?) uses a bar of soap so it really wasn't necessary.  So the soap dish got voted off the island.
Here's Brian, carefully tiling away.
My dad is installing a waterproof membrane into the corners to protect against moisture.
And then, out of nowhere, someone made the decision to pull up the vinyl floor and put down new tile while the bathroom was all tore up.  That's how my family rolls.
At this point, my parents had to head back to Sioux Falls - but Brent and I were rolling into LaCrosse shortly after.  We spent the weekend grouting the walls and the floors with a dark gray grout - and that was A LOT of grouting!

At some point, Anne and I painted their existing vanity a charcoal color to contrast against all of the white.
Here's a close up of the floor tile they chose.
And their new subway tile shower!
New plumbing fixtures.
I told you that she had a lot of shower products.
The existing vanity they had was in great shape and a perfect size for the small footprint of this bathroom.  There was no reason to take it out and replace it!  Plus, anytime you mess around with plumbing, you're asking for more problems.  If something works - leave it alone!
Sometimes it's fun to see a side by side of the before and after, so here ya go!  They estimated that this entire remodel cost them about $600 - subway tile, floor tile, paint and miscellaneous tiling supplies.  Not. Too. Shabby.
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  1. Wow, what a beautiful upgrade! In LOVE with the floor! I've been trying to talk my hubby into the same thing!

    1. Thanks, Anele! It always feels overwhelming to start a big messy project - but it's usually worth it in the end!

  2. Totally adorable. I'd paint the window frame the same color as the vanity to finish it up. ;)

  3. what color gray did you paint the vanity? really like the color...

  4. Looks great! So satisfying to see the hard work turn into something beautiful. About the tub reglazing - I had mine done about a few years ago and LOVE the results. It cost about $400 (just the tub - no tile involved) and took about 4 hours. I would highly recommend having it done - makes the entire bathroom look fresher.

  5. Wow! I love it! I'm hoping to remodel one of our bathrooms in a similar way - so far hubs is not that excited about subway tiles and penny tiles, but I'll get him there, right?

  6. I love that your family came together to do this and it looks stunning. The tile work is awesome and love the dark grout. Thanks for sharing with us at The Makers. We are so glad to have you!
    Corey @

  7. That is a very tricked out tiled bathroom! I love the splash of color in the shower curtain and good call on the dark color of the cabinet. I love the shape of the sink too.